(Leopard: Wiki Commons)
Story. At a small clearing, a gazelle approached a female leopard with something in its mouth. He threw it to the leopard. It was a skinless head.
“For you, in exchange for your husband’s fruitful harvest,” declared the gazelle.
The leopard thanked him and ate the head. As she was eating, the gazelle gave her stares accompanied with a sly smile. When the leopard finished eating the head, the gazelle laughed.
The leopard asked, “Why are you laughing? Also, why were you watching me? I am married, you know?”
“You haven’t noticed? You ate your husband!” said the gazelle. The gazelle cackled.
“No. No. No!” The leopard was in denial. The leopard attempted to spit out an imaginary piece of meat. “How dare you?! You should be ashamed of yourself!”
“I should be ashamed?! He was your husband. You should have known.” The gazelle’s goal was finished, so he started to leave.
In anger, the leopard pounced on the gazelle. Both fought, but a passerby came and tried to break up the fight. “Stop fighting! Turn around and go your separate ways!”
The leopard stopped and felt weak after remembering that her husband was dead. Right when the gazelle saw this, he went in for the kill at her neck. However, the passerby was able to push the gazelle slightly, and the gazelle did not kill her. He only severely injured her. The gazelle ran away and the passerby chased after him.
As the gazelle ran away, the leopard cursed, “You’ll never live a happy life!”
The leopard dragged herself to her husband’s bones and wept. “My dear, I apologize for eating you. I didn’t know that it was you. I vow to never eat again.”
The leopard has not eaten for a few days, and her health deteriorated. A rabbit slowly approached the leopard to see if it was still alive. The leopard tried to strike at the rabbit, but the rabbit was quick. The rabbit was surprised the leopard still had strength. He said, “I thought you were dead.”
(Rabbit: Wiki Commons)
“Come here, so I can eat your small figure, even though your gray fluff shows otherwise,” mumbled the leopard, and she swiped at the rabbit again.
The little rabbit dodged the leopard’s every move. It went behind bushes and then showed itself to the leopard. When the leopard swiped at him, he went behind a tree, and appeared again. “Ha! Ha! You’ll never catch me!” The rabbit was so confident, that it accidentally hit an old, fragile tree. A branch fell on the rabbit and killed it.
The leopard saw the blood spatter and imagined the soft skin of the rabbit. She went towards the rabbit’s corpse. As soon as she approached the body, the rabbit’s face turned into her husband’s face.
He said, “Are you going to eat me again? Didn’t you say that you’ll never eat again?”
“Darling, is that you? But I’m so hungry,” pleaded the leopard's wife.
“Fine, but you can’t eat this. Go eat those rocks over there. I’ve tried them and they are so tasty. If you eat them, I’ll accompany you for a few days.”
The leopard proceeded to eat the rocks. At first, she thought that it was strange to be eating rocks. However, after looking at her husband again, she ate a few more rocks until her hunger was satisfied.
Her husband smiled at her and exclaimed, “You are a very good eater! What shall we do today?”
The leopard excitedly told him a list of things she wanted to do.
The next morning, another rabbit was hopping around and searching for her son. “Bobby! Where are you?!” the mother rabbit yelled, “Although you’re a pain and mischievous, I still want you to come home everyday!”
As the mother rabbit neared the leopard’s clearing, she saw blood and a limp, gray ear. Instantly, she had a bad feeling. “Bobby?” She got closer and saw that it was her son. She started crying, but she saw a movement thirty feet behind her son. There was a leopard talking to herself. She held in her tears, bade farewell to her son, and left because she didn’t want to be killed.
Several days later, the mother rabbit, gazelle, and other animals were at a gathering that the gazelle held at his old friend, the leopard’s garden. There, the animals spoke of the crazy leopard who ate her husband and died. At the sound of this, the gazelle gave a smirk. And the animals continued their feast discussing other happenings like the leopard’s situation was just another story.
Author's Note. This story was based on a story from the Congo unit, The Gazelle and the Leopard. In this story, the gazelle and the leopard worked together on a garden. However, the gazelle did a lesser amount of work than the leopard. When the crops were ready to eat, the gazelle secretly had a party. The day after, the leopard found and and set a trap for the thief who stole his crops. An antelope fell in the trap, saying that the gazelle was the leader, but the leopard ate him anyway. When the gazelle found out, he planned with a mob to kill the leopard. The leopard was drawn by the sound of music to the trap and he died. At the end, the gazelle sent the leopard's head to his wife. She ate it and the gazelle told her that it was her husband. And then, this is where I continued in my story. I thought that it would be a new experience to write about a leopard going crazy, and that is what I did. Several stories from the Congo unit were gruesome as well, so I wanted to write a story similar to them.
Bibliography. The Gazelle and the Leopard from Folklore of Congo by Richard Edward Dennett; link to reading online.